When Black Friday Comes

Discussion
Nov 19, 2010
George Anderson

By George Anderson

A lot has been made this year about how early retailers
have gotten started on pushing merchandise for the holidays. Many consumers
aren’t particularly happy with the practice, but retailers are looking for
any advantage that can be gained. A recent RetailWire poll found 64
percent thought there was a small to big advantage for retailers that started
promotions before Thanksgiving.

With the traditional start of the holiday selling
season, Black Friday, now one week away, it is interesting to see there are
a growing number of stores looking to gain an advantage by opening earlier
than in past years. A few will let consumers shop on Thanksgiving (Sears, Kmart,
The Gap) while others will open at the stroke of midnight (Walmart). Others
such as J.C. Penney are holding off until 4 a.m. before opening the doors.

"The rules for Black Friday have changed significantly," said Matthew
Shay, president and CEO of the National Retail Federation, in a statement. "Instead
of waiting until Thanksgiving Day to announce their promotions, many retailers
are getting shoppers excited about Black Friday by offering sneak peeks of
deals in advance, using social media to create buzz, or teasing upcoming deals
on their websites."

According to a survey conducted for the NRF by BIGresearch,
up to 138 million people plan to shop over the Black Friday weekend. That’s
four million more than did so last year.

Research by Consumer Reports found
24 percent of shoppers plan to go shopping on Black Friday while 44 percent
plan to shop over the weekend. Roughly 25 percent expect to have all their
holiday shopping by the end of the three-day shopping event.

Discussion Questions: Especially with online shopping, are you surprised
that shopping volume seems to be concentrating more during the Black Friday
weekend and not dispersing? What are the best Black Friday hours and
marketing tactics you’re seeing this year?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.

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15 Comments on "When Black Friday Comes"


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Lisa Bradner
Guest
Lisa Bradner
10 years 5 months ago
I’m kind of old fashioned when it comes to the holidays–tree doesn’t go up until weekend before Christmas and I hate seeing Christmas stuff in Costco before Halloween but….everyone is so pressed for time that the holiday season flies by–even I started my Christmas shopping last weekend which I’ve never done before. Can’t blame the retailers for trying to capitalize on that. Social media provides an opportunity for retailers to get creative and message special deals and sales which I think is great–but they should work to tier them or keep them exclusive enough that they actually reward brand loyalists not just those who game the system. Companies like Best Buy who can combine CRM data and social to build out their social CRM have a great opportunity to be really smart about this. The report I haven’t seen and would love to see–when you look at retailer sales trends over the years does moving up the holiday season actually help the retailer’s top line or bottom line or do retailers just end up slitting… Read more »
David Biernbaum
Guest
10 years 5 months ago

Black Friday is really just the kickoff event and momentum builder for retailers. There will be other events and fanfare to follow that will help to generate and trigger more holiday sales. However, the real reason that retailers are all trying to jump the gun to attract consumers with early starts, early hours, extra incentives, etc, is because retailers perceive that there is a limited pull of consumer dollars to be taken in and so the competition for those consumer dollars is fast and furious.

Marge Laney
Guest
10 years 5 months ago

Shopping as sport; it’s what we do. Whether online or off, we love the idea of getting something for nearly nothing. Add to that the possibility of securing a better deal than the next guy or even better, your next door neighbor, and you have shopping nirvana for a lot of people. Competition is in our DNA and Black Friday is the Super Bowl for the bargain hunter.

Now that there seems to be a little less uncertainty and people are feeling better about spending, hopefully the door busters will segue into the purchase of some full price stuff while they’re there and help to keep Black Friday 2010 from becoming the usual margin catastrophe! Are you ready for some shopping?

Susan Rider
Guest
Susan Rider
10 years 5 months ago

The perception is “Black Friday” is the deal of all deal time. Consumers have also made it a tradition in families. Retailers are looking at the strategic way of gaining as much of the Black Friday sales as possible. Not at all surprised that some are opening earlier or giving a peek at sales.

But ultimately it’s the retailer that is more in tune with the shoppers this year that will benefit. What are the most popular items? Retailers with hot deals on the sought-after gifts will be the winner.

Steve Montgomery
Guest
10 years 5 months ago

Black Friday brings the “thrill of the hunt” to retail. It also bestows bragging rights for a year for those who succeed in getting those much talked about door busters.

Even for those who don’t succeed in getting the prize there is this feeling of participation in an event that can’t be achieve sitting in front of a computer screen and having search engines do your bidding. “Do you know I was in line at X store at 3 a.m.?” is far different that saying yes, I found it online.

Ted Hurlbut
Guest
Ted Hurlbut
10 years 5 months ago

In think the major retailers at this point need little cause to run the next promotion. The early Christmas promotions that have run since Columbus Day are behind them. It’s time for Black Friday. Let the noise begin!

W. Frank Dell II
Guest
10 years 5 months ago

I caution all not to over read Black Friday. Even if the number of shoppers is up, will the dollars be up? Shoppers have been burned before with retailers not having sufficient inventory. Early shoppers could be going for only a few hot items. I have heard projections from up 1.25% over last year to up 5.0%.

I submit it will be a good holiday season if we achieve 2008 numbers and stores sales will be lower due to online sales increasing at 11% per year. Also expect more window shoppers this year with online purchasing. Customer counts are not what they used to be.

Ed Rosenbaum
Guest
10 years 5 months ago

Black Friday and the week following will be significantly better this year because Hanukkah is much earlier this year. It will slant the numbers on a more positive basis because of the need of many to complete the shopping so much earlier.

Ralph Jacobson
Guest
10 years 5 months ago

Black Friday is a self-induced event for retailers and CPGers, alike. For the far majority of American shoppers (because Thanksgiving doesn’t really exist outside the US), the holiday shopping gets done in December.

Although the shopper is more savvy and value-conscious than ever, consumers have also been holding their breath and tightening their belts for at least two years. I am seeing an uptick in discretionary spending now, and I believe this year’s holiday shopping season will prove to have higher-profit revenue results versus last year.

Ben Ball
Guest
10 years 5 months ago

Is there a “H_ _ _ no!” option for the poll? I was diagnosed long ago with a genetic aversion to any shopping that does not involve sporting goods. And even then I’m more of a “buyer” than a “shopper.” Why people subject themselves to Black Friday for any reason when online shopping usually offers just as good or better deals and always offers less hassle.

I agree with Frank, shopper count for the day may be up significantly–but the dollar forecasts are optimistic.

Robert Heiblim
Guest
Robert Heiblim
10 years 5 months ago

Early “Black Friday” efforts are not surprising as “event” sales have continually been peaking more and more over time. These moves by retailers therefore are an attempt to smooth sales and draw them forward both to lock up dollars as others have written as well as to establish price position. However, in general consumers just don’t believe these are the best prices and so will wait. With the bulk of shoppers still not having even started their holiday buys this means once again that BF and the weeks beyond will concentrate sales into peaks.

The form the economy has pushed into also brings deep valleys so why not try as there is little to lose. With decades of force and training it is not easy to shift consumers and it will take a more moderate financial climate to bring most household demographics out any earlier. Still, i think “holiday” season will continue to spread.

Anne Bieler
Guest
Anne Bieler
10 years 5 months ago

With the timing of the holidays this years, yes Black Friday will be big this year. Some shoppers love the planning, the strategy, the chance to get really good deals. People are still trying to get the best value for their money, and a good way for those with the time and interest to win a bit.

Retailers have a group of shoppers who are really up for the challenge are ready to spend on preselected items–open really early, items clearly marked, checkout counters fully manned–and definitely, enough inventory.

Craig Sundstrom
Guest
10 years 5 months ago

“Others such as J.C. Penney are holding off until 4 a.m. before opening the doors….”

See, this is why Penney’s is doomed: they’re behind the curve…seriously though, does anyone outside of the marketing departments that think up these publicity stunts really think any of this makes any sense? Yeah, I know, ALL retailers have to do it because ONE of them did it: the same lemming-like thinking that led banks to offer six-figure mortgages to people with 4-figure incomes…Great.

M. Jericho Banks PhD
Guest
M. Jericho Banks PhD
10 years 5 months ago
“When Black Friday comes I’m gonna dig myself a hole; Gonna lay down in it ’til I satisfy my soul.” (Thanks, Donald Fagen and Walter Becker.) If Black Friday introduces a shopping season featuring “thrill of the hunt” or “competition” for deals as described in previous comments, my hunting will be for a place to hide out. I find more pleasure using the stuff I buy rather than in the act of purchasing it. For some of us, shopping is not a sport. However, the email address I use only for online shopping is already bulging with retailer holiday junk mail, and I do have fun cruising through the deals rather than just deleting the junk as I usually do. This time of year, don’t touch my junk! So, we see the Consumer Reports opinion that the number of BF shoppers will be DOWN 7% from last year; while the National Retail Federation says that BF shoppers will be UP by 4 million over last year. Which is it? I’m with Ben Ball, providing my… Read more »
Jerry Gelsomino
Guest
10 years 5 months ago

Any event or promotion that gets the customer into the marketplace and a spending mood is beneficial. While Thanksgiving is an American holiday, the Black Friday kick-off to the holiday season seems be becoming global.

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